Dream wedding for brave Thorpe St Andrew mum
A mum-of-two who received the devastating news that her cancer had spread has been able to enjoy the wedding of her dreams, thanks to the generosity of others.
Mel Swan Horton, nee Curtis, of Thorpe St Andrew, was diagnosed with bowel cancer 18 months ago, but despite undergoing operations and chemotherapy, the disease has spread to her liver and lung.
It was after this that she decided to marry her partner Kristian, of Earlham, and hoped for a blessing in Cyprus, where her mum and dad live.
A simple message on an online forum from her mum asking what was necessary saw an amazing show of generosity that helped Mrs Swan Horton have a day she will never forget.
A photographer, hair stylist, manicurist, chauffeur, wedding planner and even a hotel stepped forward to put on the beach blessing in Alsancak, on September 7.
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The couple were even featured in the Cyprus Today newspaper as Mrs Swan Horton's story captured the nation.
Mrs Swan Horton, who went to Thorpe St Andrew High School, said: 'I just want to thank everyone who made it so special. When I am struggling through the next six months I will think about how lovely it was.
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'It is going to be a difficult six months but this is something to remember and keep me going. It made us realise just how good people can be. You can get cynical and forget there are kind people about.'
When the couple returned from Cyprus, their friends and family back home gave them another party in Costessey with a wide range of people including a DJ and a photographer again giving their time for free.
Mrs Swan Horton, 46, who has twin daughters Leanne and Maria aged 24, said: 'We had so much. It was unbelievable what people did for us.'
All of this came just one month after she had received the news that her cancer had spread again.
She was first diagnosed with bowel cancer when she was 44. She had suffered from bleeding, tiredness and changing bowel habits but had put them down to her body building and diet.
'I thought it can't happen to me,' she said.
Mrs Swan Horton went through six months of chemotherapy, but then heard the terrible news that the cancer had spread to her liver.
She was due for an operation on the liver, but was told that it had spread to her lung, meaning another six months of chemotherapy is required.
It was this news that prompted a marriage to her partner Kristian, 35, in Dereham Register Office, before the trip to Cyprus for the blessing.
She added that she planned to go back to Cyprus to see her parents, Ralph and Anne Thompson, again.
Mr Swan Horton, who went to Notre Dame High School, said that throughout the illness, his new wife has had an 'awesome attitude'.
The father-of-two, Lauren, 13, and Georgia, 10, said that he felt her positivity and high level of fitness had helped her in the battle against cancer.
Mr Swan Horton, who is unemployed, said: 'It is no guarantee but from what I have seen first hand, being positive keeps you strong.'
Mrs Swan Horton, who was previously a project manager with charity Beat, added: 'I have an illness. You can either give up and give in to it and become a victim of it, or you can carry on living your life.'
She also said that she wanted to raise people's awareness and make sure that others get checked out.
She said: 'Most people think bowel cancer is an older people's illness. I want to get the message out that although it is not so common, bowel cancer does happen to younger people.'
•For more information visit www.beatingbowelcancer.org or www.big-c.co.uk
•Do you know somebody who is bravely battling against the odds? Contact reporter Richard Wood on 01603 772423 or email firstname.lastname@example.org